Psychedelics Reconsidered

alice caterpillar mushroom

Fantastic Fungi
January 1st, 2015

For an updated and much expanded version of this article, see
Midnight Train to Gaia
Alice remained looking thoughtfully at the mushroom for a minute, trying to make out which were the two sides of it; and as it was perfectly round, she found this a very difficult question.

Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland

If any mushrooms are going to save the world, it’s the psychedelic ones.

I highly recommend the 2013 documentary, Neurons to Nirvana. The special effects are a bit too “psychedelic” for my taste, but the point of the film is important: psychedelics can potentially not only cure depression; they can change the course of civilization.

Today, nearly one in four Americans will experience depression by the time they reach age 75. In December of 2014, Time reported that 65% of people with severe depression are not getting treatment. Initial research shows that for many people, when properly administered, psychedelics could be of tremendous benefit.

The first thing to realize is that psychedelics are illegal not because they are dangerous to the individual but because they are dangerous to the establishment. Because they can’t be patented and sold, they threaten our tremendous pharmaceutical industry.

More fundamentally, psychedelics threaten a culture based on fear, on the notion that we need to protect ourselves from others, and most of all, on the presumption that we need to fight and fix ourselves. Psychedelics reveal the truth: that we are one, that we are perfect, and that all we need is love.

The other thing to keep in mind is that psychedelics are not for everyone. Drug reform is not about prescribing another “magic pill” but shifting our whole culture to accommodate these experiences. Changing our thinking takes work, both individually and collectively. Psychedelics only give us a glimpse of the goal; it’s still up to us to get there.

True spirituality is not a high, not a rush, not an altered state… Authentic spirituality is not some little flicker or buzz of knowingness, not a psychedelic blast-through or a mellow hanging-out on some exalted plane of consciousness, not a bubble of immunity, but a vast fire of liberation, an exquisitely fitting crucible and sanctuary, providing both heat and light for the healing and awakening we need.

Robert Augustus Masters, “Spiritual Bypassing

If we want mushrooms or plants to help us grow, we need to respect and appreciate their tremendous power to do so. Then they just might save us.